How Long Will Americans Tolerate This Man as Their President?

Today I watched Representative Ilhan Omar’s speech on Islam, religious liberty, anti-Muslim bigotry at the Council of American-Islamic Relations.

Here is the controversial part of the speech:

Here’s the truth: far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen. And frankly I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and then all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties. 

I do not take Omar’s remarks here in a sinister way.  Yet, Donald Trump chose to interpret them in that way.  Here is his tweet:

Trump’s decision to post this video with the burning 9-11 towers doesn’t surprise me.  Trump is an idiot and he is never going to change.  But there are no doubt millions of Americans who are praising Trump for this tweet.  They represent much of what is wrong with America right now.  Some thoughts:

  1. The Omar quote Trump used here is woefully out of context.  Let’s also remember that her entire speech focused on the difference between patriotic American Muslims and the Muslim extremists who attacked the U.S. on 9-11.
  2. Let’s also remember that Trump claimed that he saw “thousands” of people in Jersey City “cheering” as the World Trade Center “was coming down.”  As we now know–this did not happen.  It was yet another example of Trump’s embrace of a politics of fear.  And then there was Trump’s comments a few hours after the World Trade Center fell.  Instead of showing compassion for the lives lost in this tragic event, Trump was on the radio bragging that his building on Wall Street was now the tallest building in New York City.  (In actually, is the 32nd tallest building in NYC).  So let’s consider the source and the hypocrisy evident in this tweet.
  3. One can condemn both Trump’s tweet and Omar’s February 2019 tweet about Jews.
  4. This tweet is yet another appeal to Trump’s anti-Muslim white evangelical base as we get closer to the 2020 election.  Expect to see much more of this garbage. Strongmen use fear to stay in power.
  5. In this tweet Trump exploited the families of those killed on 9-11 for political gain.  Sadly, this is politics as usual.  Despicable.
  6. The New York Post seized on Trump’s words, thus further degrading public discourse in America: NY Post

I still believe that a President should set the moral tone of a nation. (Wow, what a crazy idea!). Trump is a deeply immoral man who is incapable of leadership.  Even if you think Omar should have been more specific in her condemnation of the 9-11 terrorists, we should not stand for this kind of gutter-politics from the President of the United States.

What saddens me the most, of course, is that white evangelicals played a major role in getting this man into the White House.  I know not all white evangelicals who voted for Trump like this kind of rhetoric.  I have met dozens of them on the road over the last year.  But let’s not pretend that these voters don’t share responsibility for the mess Trump is making of our country.  White evangelicals gave Trump this platform.

26 thoughts on “How Long Will Americans Tolerate This Man as Their President?

  1. Well played, John. I will bite but have to stretch it out in installments though. I suspect that I can do a bit better than “shilling” status. Although there’s nothing wrong with “shilling” status. 🙂

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  2. Trump and the Post certainly went off the rails over this and while her words may not be sinister, they’re not all that admirable either.

    Let’s simply look at the supplied quote which is not woefully out of context. In fact it’s in keeping with the entire gist of the speech.

    First of all she’s speaking to CAIR, an organization of questionable antecedents that has been declared a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates and had an admitted association with the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) charged by the US government with funneling money to Hamas.

    When the 1st trial of the HLF ended in a mistrial CAIR defended the organization claiming the charges were “built on fear not fact.” All HLF defendants were convicted in the retrial and CAIR was identified as an “unindicted co-conspirator” which caused the FBI to stop working with CAIR.

    Second, what civil liberties were Muslims losing? Perhaps they should compare the civil liberties they lost to those lost by the Japanese internees during WW II or blacks in the south that were kept from voting by the Jim Crow culture? More people disliking you, whether justified or not, is not a loss of civil liberties. Even Islamophobic assholes enjoy freedom of speech.

    Third, let’s cut the bullshit, “some people did something” is no way to refer to the events of 9/11. If we can just agree this was a bad choice of words them I’m all for calling out those distorting what she said. BUT WE CAN’T EVEN DO THAT APPARENTLY. Instead heels have to be dug into the ground and the indefensible must be defended.

    Fourth, just as a minor nit, CAIR was founded in 1994 and not after 9/11. She couldn’t even get the founding date of the organization she was speaking to right.

    Then we can add the “allegiance to a foreign country” crack while criticizing AIPAC a while back into the mix.

    But the thing that really stuck in my craw was her comparing her “some people did something” phrase to George W, Bush’s “I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon” phrase spoken on 9/14/2001, right in front of the rubble of the twin towers, claiming because he used the word “people” it amounted to the same thing she said or at least it was equally respectful or disrespectful.

    No, not really, not even close.

    Trump and the Post were being unethical but, as you point out, they were scoring lots of political points by going overboard. Trump understands the game. You have to know when to fold a losing hand and I have this bad feeling that this lady is a losing hand and always will be a losing hand.

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  3. That, of course, entirely depends on whether or not there’s a decent, intelligent, knowledgeable, capable, experienced and mentally sound REP candidate that I thought would have some interest in governing an entire nation and all of its peoples in a rational manner in accordance with the aspirational democratic/egalitarian Republican principles advanced during the revolution and framing and whose world view and that of his/her political base is more in line with the words Jesus spoke that an ever wrathful God of vengeance and enemy smiting. Since that seems highly unlikely I’ll see how the DEM field shakes out.

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  4. John,

    Thanks. A lot of the chronology has merged in my thinking. I don’t recall when the problems actually started, however. In any case, I still don’t mind the EPA from keeping a new Love Canal from appearing near my house.
    James

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  5. Jim in STL,

    You hit a sore spot there. Ha ha. But after Rucyleshouse left, didn’t he put Mrs. Gorsuch in charge? Or did Reagan do that? My memory is failing me on the sequence.

    In any case, Dick Nixon probably had a bipartisan group pushing him on the EPA. In those days nobody wanted another Love Canal in their backyard. Nor would I.

    James

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  6. Jeff,

    Good to hear from you.

    Maybe I failed in my humor, but I was being facetious about the bags of clothing. My point was that the liberal media is good at “majoring on the minors” and beating the subject to death when it comes to the Donald’s life.

    You probably have a point that his net worth is not what other billionaires have, but I doubt that there has been any gross tax fraud. The IRS could legitimately find something inconsequential on most high earners who obviously itemize.

    James

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  7. JIm in STL,

    My second prediction is that Mr. Conway’s personal animus in concert with the Mueller report will not result in a conviction of the President Trump. If it does, I will consider a $1,000.00 donation to the Nixon Library.

    James

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  8. James this sounds like the reasons Trump came up with for avoiding testifying before Mueller and other things. I remember him saying they were setting a trap, looking for where he didn’t dot an i or cross a t. Where the truth is he feared something much bigger coming out and no one could cause him trouble over a trifle like that. This idea that the scary thing and threat to Trump on tax returns is failure to correctly report donated clothing bags is definitely not the kind of thing Trump needs worry about.
    And even CNN knows they can’t make hay out of that.
    I think Trump fears discovery of substance. Maybe it’s as simple as he has (shockingly) greatly exaggerated his net worth. That would bug him if it was published.
    Maybe some of his income comes from sources he’d rather not divulge. Who knows. But it won’t be about six bags of clothing.
    I imagine he is on shaky ground. There is a weirdness to me that he seemed to go after loans from Russians and other odd sources for a genuine billionaire. I can’t imagine Buffet or Gates going to some of those folks. It may be legitimate US banks saw a risk. But I could be wrong. We may see.
    But again, even the radical left wing CNN knows they can’t hold him to the fire over a small time tax error.

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  9. “…legal breaches…”

    As many lawyers are saying, including the conservative husband of Kellyanne (Mother of all Alternative Facts) Conway: there is a distinction between no “evidence” and “not enough evidence to make a finding.” (And “collusion” is not a crime)

    One example that I read involved a husband accused of infidelity. Would it be sufficient evidence to convict in a court of law if a lengthy record of texts and emails strongly suggested collusion with escorts and prostitutes including evidence of, how to say, intimacy? Having served on my fair share of juries I would add that circumstantial evidence, if strong enough, can be used to convict even in capital cases.

    It’s up to the discretion of a prosecutor to indict move something to trial and we don’t yet know why Mueller did not do so. The absence of bringing an indictment though is not an absence of evidence.

    Mueller may not have thought that the evidence was enough to make a finding in this particular circumstance but there may be sufficient “evidence” for voters to decide if they want to give him four more years.

    “The DEMs are going to have to find a place in Trump’s tax return where he inadvertently claimed six bags of old clothing rather than five bags donated to Goodwill Industries or a comparable charity…”

    You sir are a dreamer. I will contribute $100, no, make that $1,000 to Goodwill Industries, or some comparable charity of my choice, if that’s all they find.

    As I’ve done elsewhere, I would like to state for the record that I completely agree with the great bringer of Law and Order, Richard Milhous Nixon, when he said “Americans have a right to know if their president is a crook.” Bravo Dick. Bravo. Well said. Personally, I think that the DEMS should continue their quest for Law and Order. We deserve and have a right to know if we have illegals in the White House.

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  10. Jim in STL,
    Post Script:
    I liked Dick Nixon. Wasn’t old enough to pull the lever for him in 1968 but he got my support in 72. 😊🙃😉🙂. Of course, the wage and price controls did not set well with me.
    James

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  11. Jim in STL,

    Just out of curiosity, is there anyone in the current field of DEM declared or likely to declare candidates for whom you would not vote?

    James

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  12. Jim in STL,

    Here’s a prediction from someone who is not a prophet. The Mueller report in its redacted form or in its raw form will show no collusion or other legal breaches.

    The DEMs are going to have to find a place in Trump’s tax return where he inadvertently claimed six bags of old clothing rather than five bags donated to Goodwill Industries or a comparable charity in Manhattan. After the bag error is discovered, CNN and other liberal media outlets will devote unceasing coverage to this “major tax fraud” until they can return their ratings to the levels which were present before Mueller let them down.

    James

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  13. It is hardly hope to want to know facts in order to be informed. It seems that you are the one taking the big leap of hope and denial. To quote that great Law and Order guy, Richard Milhous Nixon, “The American people have a right to know if their president is a crook.”

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  14. About all that is actually known, outside of those most closely involved, is that both AG William Barr and SC Robert Mueller agree, in writing, that the Mueller report does not exonerate the president. Really. It’s right there in Barr’s letter. And nobody else, not even Fox and Friends, has seen the actual report.

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  15. RM,

    It would be interesting to have the answer to your question, but there is probably not a scientific poll which addresses the matter. Anecdotally, I have seen no evidence that voters for each man somehow blended them together as they entered the voting booths in 2016. The personalities and political practices of the two men are simply not the same.

    Interestingly, Donald Trump violated at least one Reagan dictum. Didn’t the Gipper pronounce an 11th Commandment? “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.” It seems that he said something to that effect. During the 2016 GOP primary season, however, Jeb Bush, John McCain, and one or two others soon learned that the 11th Commandment was not honored by Candidate Trump.

    Getting back to your basic question, RM, there is no evidence the two GOP standard bearers were conflated in the minds of evangelical or other Christian voters. The larger question, however, involves the state of the U.S. political landscape. Specifically, has the discourse of all of the players degenerated to a point where Reagan’s congenial approach would no longer bring the desired results? Today’s Democrats, the current mainstream media, new social media, and other communications configurations are radically different than they were in 1980.

    I don’t have a clear answer to your question, but I can tell you that Christians of all stripes have been disappointed with the direction of the country since Reagan’s time. As the cynical old saying goes, “No matter who you vote for, you end up with Jerry Ford in the Oval Office.”

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  16. I wonder how many white evangelicals though they were voting for a Ronald Regan when they pulled the handle for Donald Trump?

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  17. Technically there are many tens of millions of Americans chomping at the bit to vote him out and would not have their fee fees hurt if the 25th Amendment or impeachment solved the problem first.

    Otherwise, he is “tolerated” because those are the only viable choices and they all involve waiting it out while building an alternative.

    The big question is, why are the millions of Americans that still back him without question, and in many cases accept him as God’s anointed to rule America, still taken seriously? Trump is anti-American in every possible way and getting worse as he keeps failing. This is not a matter of conspiracy-speculation and hysteria but a matter of observation and historical reference. Really, ask any Founder with Republican dreams.

    We are now living with the deplorables in charge. And by deplorables I mean the creature consisting of equal parts authoritarianism (RE: Dr. Robert Altemeyer’s Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) personality), paranoia (RE: Richard Hofstadter’s The Paranoid Style in American Politics), epistemological closure, Dunning–Kruger effect, rising religious extremism, rising political extremism ala Steve Bannon and the Fox/Breitbart/Limbaugh & rage-nation media, fear, grievance, bigotry, hatred and a strong desire for revenge and purification of the nation. And coal fetishists. Call it the Trump Cult. They united behind HE “who is the only one” and found the power switch.

    Tick Tock. Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Put it on your calendar. Support sanity and decency and a stronger, more united America. Look forward and not backward to mythical times when things were greater. Take the Church back for Jesus. Tell your friends.

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  18. How long will Americans tolerate him? That’s a strange question.

    We know for how long. Either until 2020, or 2024. Two options.

    Now that Wyatt Mueller has dashed the hopes and dreams of the Resistance, and the great Russia Collusion fantasy has come to an end, Trump will be tolerated for as long as all other Presidents before him: until his 4 year term ends, and there is another election.

    And given the cavalcade of extremists the D’s are lining up (with the exception of Biden, but despite his striving he’s not sufficiently woke and can’t pass the ideological purity test), two-term Trump is a very real possibility.

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  19. Yes, almost 3,000 people (that we know of) killed by terrorism on 9/11. But how many more killed for revenge, on our side and theirs? How many killed by domestic terrorists on our own soil because no one will take steps to stop them? How many fools believe every lie out of that man’s mouth because he uses politics of fear?

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  20. I did not take her comments as being sinister either. I continually run across people who refuse to acknowledge there are huge differences between 99% of Muslims and that small group that seeks to use violence to achieve their goals. The people that refuse to acknowledge the differences also fail to see the violence used by radical Christians here in the US. But then those people support Donald Trump as he tells them what they want to hear and they reject facts which don’t fit in with their delusions.

    Going to be interesting to watch how a few people make comments here defending Trump and trying to turn around what you said, John.

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